Position description and analysis - Fisheries Observer

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Job Title:             Fisheries Observer                         Position Various
Section:               Observer Program                  Branch: Fisheries Operations
Salary Range:          AFMA employs observer staff on a full-     Classification:
                       time contract basis. The daily rate varies APS 2
                       from $145.53 to $155.40 per day plus
                       “sea-going” allowances of $161.89 per
                       day whilst at sea

Organisational Structure

The following shows diagrammatically the positions reporting lines, including those
positions/committees that work with or to the position.

                                  Chief Executive Officer

                                    General Manager
                                   Fisheries Operations

                                    Manager Observer
                                        Program                Observer Administrator
                                                                     (APS 4)

     Observer Data Analyst        Observer Coordinator           ISMP Data Analyst
           (APS 6)                      (APS 6)                      (APS 6)

       Assistant Observer            Senior Observer             Regional Observer
          Coordinator                  (APS 3)x6                    Coordinator
            (APS 4)                                                   (APS 4)

                                   Fisheries Observers
                                       (APS 2) x24

Fisheries Observer                    1

To observe and document commercial fishing catches, operations and environmental
interactions at-sea aboard a range of vessels in and out of the Australian Fishing Zone

Purpose of the Section

This Section is responsible for ensuring the effective collection, management, storage and
dissemination of commercial catch and effort data held by AFMA. It is also responsible for
the collection of fishery specific observer data and for the provision of data summaries and
reports on issues and developments affecting the quality and reliability of data.

Primary Duties

The duties of an AFMA Observer aboard a vessel are to:

    •   collect vessel, technical and biological data which is not normally obtainable
        through logbooks;
    •   monitor environmental impacts by the vessel and its fishing gear;
    •   verify catch and effort data submitted by the vessel in accordance with its fishing
        permit conditions;
    •   collect data and participate in research programs supporting fisheries management
        and other agencies e.g. fish tagging and surveys;
    •   monitor vessel compliance with their permit conditions;
    •   educate fishers with respect to observer program activities and clarify fishing permit
    •   monitor compliance with respects to marine pollution (MARPOL);
    •   develop and refine methodologies for the collection of verified data; and
    •   enter data and prepare a report at the end of each trip.

The relative importance and priorities for each of these roles is determined by
stakeholders during the development of the requirements and protocols for each fishery
specific observer project, and formally documented in an observer manual specific to that

Observers may undertake trips in the following fisheries:

    •   East Coast Tuna Fishery
    •   Sub-Antarctic Fisheries (including Macquarie Island and Heard and McDonald
    •   Torres Strait Fisheries
    •   Coral Sea Fishery
    •   Southern Bluefin Tuna Fishery
    •   North West Slope Fishery
    •   Gillnet, Hook and Trap Fishery
    •   Small Pelagic Fishery
    •   Western Tuna and Billfish Fishery
    •   Western deepwater Trawl Fishery

Fisheries Observer                      2
    •   Southern Squid Jig Fishery
    •   Bass Strait Scallop Fishery
    •   SET Trawl Fishery
    •   GAB Trawl Fishery
    •   Northern Prawn Trawl Fishery

This position liaises with the following people and/or organisations:

Organisation                           Title
AFMA                                   Observer Coordinators, Observer Data Analysts,
                                       Senior Observers, & Observer Administrator
                                       Data, Fisheries and Environmental Managers
External organisations                 AAD
                                       Fisheries Audit Service (NZ)
                                       State Fisheries Agencies
                                       Industry representatives, fishing concession holders,
                                       fishing boat skippers and crew

With all of the above, communication is by writing, telephone and face to face meetings.

Formal delegations held by this position are:

There are no formal delegations held by this position.

This position is responsible for conducting research, analysing information and/or
making decisions or recommendations on the basis of research as follows:
The occupant will be required to consider, advise on and implement data quality auditing
and correction measures. The occupant will be required to implement and coordinate field
research functions and operations while taking account of sound statistical sampling
procedures and best practice.
The following details the areas in which the occupant will exercise judgement, will
have the authority to act or implement, or will need to gain approval for or discuss
issues with others:
The occupant of this position will be required to work at-sea under difficult conditions,
conduct port sampling and liaise with industry and management with limited supervision.
The occupant will seek assistance from more senior Observers on more complex matters.

Selection Criteria
The following lists the selection criteria against which applicants for this position will be

Fisheries Observer                      3
Skills, knowledge, and experience:

AFMA observers will be expected to go to sea on a variety of fishing vessels, sometimes
under adverse conditions. Observers are deployed to collect fishery, biological information
and scientific samples. Applicants are required to demonstrate capabilities and experience
against the following criteria:

    1. Demonstrated experience working on commercial, training or research vessels at
       sea including the demonstrated ability to work at sea under difficult conditions with
       limited supervision;

    2. Knowledge of research methodologies and experience in the collection of
       associated scientific data preferably with experience in at sea biological sampling;

    3. Sound oral communication and liaison skills including a demonstrated ability to
       prepare concise structured written reports;

    4. Familiarity with personal computers and computer applications such as word
       processing, spreadsheets and database packages;

    5. Knowledge of the Australian Fishing Industry and the role of the Commonwealth in
       fisheries management;

Other requirements:

The occupant of this position will require

    •   the ability to work at-sea under difficult conditions with limited supervision;
    •   a current and valid Australian passport;
    •   an observer medical clearance;
    •   be prepared to undergo a police security check;
    •   an understanding of AFMA’s purpose; and
    •   a commitment to Equal Employment Opportunity, Industrial Democracy and
        Occupational Health and Safety principles.

Applicants will be port based, living with the fishing community and remote from AFMA’s
head office with limited daily support.

Applicants must not hold or have held shares or been employed in Commonwealth
fisheries in the previous 12 months.

Qualification and training:

             •   Sea safety training certificate by an Australian Maritime Safety Authority
                 (AMSA) accredited organisation; and
             •   Senior First Aid Certificate.

Fisheries Observer                       4
Position Approval

Name and
Signature of        Garry Collins       ____________________    __/__/__
Manager                                        Signature
Name and
Signature of        Paul Murphy         ____________________    __/__/__
General Manager                                Signature
Position classified
through CED -
Human Resources Morag Roycroft           ____________________   __/__/__
Manager                                       Signature

Fisheries Observer                  5

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